The Pink Postcard! Rational Emotive Therapy

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My mom’s friend, Dr. Rolf Muuss, a psychologist, keeps this postcard on his desk. Translated from German, his native language, the card says:

A bad mood is a mistake in thinking.

Rolf, who was a professor for many years at Goucher College in Baltimore and lectured worldwide, taught me, on a recent visit to my mom’s retirement center, about Rational Emotive Therapy.

Stated simply, this is the idea that we can replace negative and sometimes irrational thoughts with more positive, rational ones.

Rolf will tell you that the idea of changing our thinking goes back to the ancient philosophers. Years ago, he began collecting quotes across the ages. He can recite them for you, in his wonderful German accent, if you stop in to pay him a visit.

But until then, I’ll post some lines from his collection here:

With our thoughts we make the world.

Buddha

The art of living wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.

William James

We cannot forbid thoughts to fly in and out of our heads like birds. However, it is entirely up to us whether we allow them to build their nests there.

Martin Luther

Do not worry about the past, because you will spend the rest of your life in the future.

German Proverb

Man is not what circumstances make of him, but what he makes of the circumstances that make him.

John Paul Sartre

Not what we experience, but how we perceive what we experience determines our fate.

Maria von Ebner Eschenbach

So the next time your mind starts spinning negative, upsetting thoughts,  especially when the Great Pause is sending you into hormonal havoc, see what you can do to flip those thoughts into positive ones.

For in the words of the professor’s bright pink postcard:

A bad mood is a mistake in thinking.

11 responses »

    • Thanks. I bet he was a great teacher. Won Goucher’s distinguished teaching award and there’s a scholarship in his honor.

    • My mom’s had the best time, thanks to her cool retirement center, making friends. It’s been a good reminder for me that any age is a great age to connect with someone new.

  1. Loved this post! The wisdom of the ages! He must be so interesting to talk to. My favorite is Martin Luther’s quote.Thanks for sharing Barbara.

    • I love the Martin Luther too. And Rolf’s a Lutheran through and through. He comes from a long line of Lutheran pastors.

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